Diving Off The Reefs of Pemba Island

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Looking for a unique and fun way to get to know the reefs off Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania? Look no more!

When the breeze picks up her 7 sails and 2 masts make this sailing liveaboard an impressive way to travel between the moorings and dive site of these exotic reefs.

Currents that flow from the Pacific Ocean support a variety of marine life around Pemba islands which is part of the Zanzibar archipelago. Pemba is at the western edge of the vast Indo-Pacific oceanic region and has many species of reef fish and coral.

By day you will enjoy stunning reefs and tanning on the deck. By night you will anchor in calm mangrove fringed lagoons and enjoy spicy meals.

Up to 3 daily dives are planned with the occasional night dive along Pembas West wall, Mesali Island, and weather permitting, along the dramatic east coast as well.

Diving along Pemba is a mix of drift, and pinnacles diving with 2 dinghy’s to pick up divers on the surface. Marlins, Sailfish, Tuna, Wahoo, Turtles, Manta Rays and Bottlenose and Spinner Dolphins are some of the more famous resident off these waters. The Bottlenose dolphins are seen in small families of 5 -10 all year round but the biggest group and most entertaining are the Spinner dolphins sometimes seen in groups of 200 sometimes from December to April.

Combined with an African safari, this must surely be the best way to combine a unique and exotic holiday in my book!

A 23 meter yacht that was built in 1990 and offers a truly unique liveaboard experience. It is a beautifully designed vessel with a spacious forward deck and a 5 meter beam. It carries all the safety features of a good liveaboard such as GPS, Radar, VHF, generators and compressors.

Accommodation is in 5 air-conditioned cabins, 4 twins and one double for a total of 12 people including a space to create into 2 bunks at night in the salon. Good for people who want to get away from a snoring partner in the cabin!

There are 3 bathrooms with a head shower with plenty of hot and cold water.

In the salon you’ll find a selection of books, a stereo system plus a tv and video.

The chef prepares a mix of international and local dishes using fresh and local produce. The occasional spicy dish adds interest and he’s happy to cater to special diets. 3 meals a day as well as snacks are provided. Soft drinks, juices and water all day plus wine at meal times.

The trips includes 6 nights on the liveaboard, 1 night in Shimoni, Mombasa, Pemba or Zanzibar. With a minimum of 4 pax, you may select an alternative date on request.

Non diving partners are welcome as land tours, fishing and snorkeling and spice tours can be arranged as well through the different lodges.

Dive Sites in Pemba Island


This is a narrow channel, which links a tidal lagoon to the sea. Nutrients from the lagoon provide food for the marine life in the tidal channel and the seaward reefs. One of the dive sites is Manta Point (max 25m), a pinnacle off the main reef which attracts a large variety of fish life e.g. anthias, surgeonfish, blue fin and big eye really, shoals of black snapper, Napoleon wrasse and flute fish. The top of the pinnacle is covered in anemones with associated anemone fish.


A beautiful, uninhabited desert island with an extensive reef system, which is a marine reserve. One of the sites is on the North Reef (25m). This is a drift dive along a vertical wall covered in tubastrae corals and reef fish. Pelagic fish like giant trevally and barracuda are often seen.


The southern tip of Pemba Island, which juts out into the main ocean current flowing north along the African coast. This site is visited as a day trip. We do not anchor overnight. The two dive sites are Emerald Reef (20m), which is a coral ridge with prolific reef fish life and the wreck of SS Paraportiani (15m), a steam freighter that ran aground in rough weather on Emerald Reef and now lies west of the reef. The propeller, stern tube, boilers and holds are clearly visible.


The steep walls with a strong oceanic current are ideal for pelagic life and the diving here focuses on looking for pelagic fish. Sightings of hammerhead and reef sharks, trevally, tuna and barracuda are common. The diving depth is 30m, so a dive computer is essential.

When to Visit Pemba Island

Group departures may start and end in Zanzibar, Pemba, Shimoni or Mombassa. Fixed departures start in Shimoni.

Getting to Pemba Island

Zanzibar is a popular charter flight destination from several major European cities. Pemba and Zanzibar can both be reached from the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam by ferry, all of them are served by small aircraft also. Additionally Pemba and Zanzibar can be reached via air from Mombasa, Kenya, or by ferry.

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